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Gone with the Wind line is top put-down

GONE With The Wind author Margaret Mitchell has been crowned the queen of the literary put-down in a new poll.

The writer, whose novel inspired the classic film starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, topped a poll which included that famous wit Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare.

The line in question -Rhett Butler's "My dear, I don't give a damn" - which was altered in the film to the more famous "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"- picked up the most votes.

In second place in the top 10 of immortal insults is Lady Bracknell's line, from Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest, where she says: "To lose one parent, Mr Worthing, may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."

The top three is completed by the surreal snub from Terry Pratchett's Small Gods, where one of his characters, a tortoise called Om, tells another character: "May your genitals sprout wings and fly away."

The poll, which surveyed 2,000 adults, was commissioned by UKTV channel Drama and also featured lines from Agatha Christie and Ernest Hemingway.

The channel's general manager, Adrian Wills, said: "These authors had such an incredible ear for dialogue they would put most modern-day script-writers to shame."

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